Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) is an ophthalmic emergency that causes severe and permanent visual impairment. The effects of conventional treatments on recanalizing retinal arteries and improving visual outcome are equivocal. This study was designed to determine the possible benefits of pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) with intrasurgical regulation of intraocular pressure using intraocular vascular counterpulsation (IVT). CRAO was induced by 532-nm argon green laser activation of auricular intravenous injected rose bengal, a photosensitive dye, in the central retinal arteries (CRA) of eighty-four New Zealand white albino rabbits. CRAO rabbits were randomly assigned to photocoagulation, vitrectomy and counterpulsation groups. Depending on the time intervals between surgery and CRAO induction, vitrectomy and counterpulsation groups were further divided into 2 h (2h), 6 h (6h) and 24 h (24h) subgroups. The proportion of eyes with complete recanalization was significantly higher in the 2h counterpulsation subgroup after three days (P = 0.032) and in all counterpulsation subgroups after one week (P = 0.020). After one month, the 2h and 6h counterpulsation subgroups showed greater oscillatory potential (OPs) responses (F = 3.519, P = 0.049). The 2h counterpulsation subgroup also exhibited greater b-wave amplitude in photopic 3.0 Flicker(F = 4.530, P = 0.044). Histologic evaluation revealed less destruction in the inner retina for the 2h and 6h counterpulsation subgroups. Expression of HSP70 was higher in the 2h and 6h counterpulsation subgroups (F = 48.915,P < 0.001). Levels of HSP90 were lower in all counterpulsation subgroups (F = 30.065,P < 0.001). Levels of TNF-α were lower in the 2h counterpulsation subgroup (F = 14.762,P < 0.001). These results indicate that PPV with IVT was effective to recanalize retinal arteries after CRAO. Early intervention provided better morphologic and functional prognosis for inner retina. The protective effect was related with higher retinal levels of HSP70 and lower levels of HSP90 and TNF-α.
Keywords: Central retinal artery occlusion; Heat shock protein; Intraocular vascular counterpulsation; Pars plana vitrectomy; Recanalization; Reperfusion; Retinal ischemia.
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